Sleeping, Dreaming, and Dying - Contributors

An Exploration of Consciousness

Jerome (“Pete”) Engel Jr.
Pete Engel received his MD in 1965 and a PhD in physiology in 1966, both from Stanford University. Since then, he has been associate and then full professor of neurology at UCLA Medical School. He has been active in a number of professional societies, serving as president of the American Epilepsy Society and the American EEG Society. He is also the editor of several professional journals including Advanced Neurobiology, Epilepsy, and Journal of Clinical Neurophysiology.

Dr. Engel is the editor of several volumes on epilepsy and clinical neuroscience, and recently authored Seizures and Epilepsy (Philadelphia: F. A. Davis, 1989). He has contributed over 110 papers in professional journals such as Epilepsy Research, Journal of Neurosurgery, Neurology, Electroencephalography Clinical Neurophysiology, and Annals of Neurology.

Dr. Engel brings thorough experience with states that arise during and following epileptic seizures, diabetic coma and starvation, the hallucinations that occur in conjunction with brain lesions.

Readings circulated for Mind and Life IV:

  • Engel, J. 1990. “Functional Explorations of the Human Epileptic Brain and Their Therapeutic Implications,” in Electroencephalography Clinical Neurophysiology 76: 296–316.
  • Engel, J. 1990, 1991. “Neurobiological Evidence for Epilepsy-Induced Interictal Disturbances,” in Advances in Neurology 55: 97–111.

Jayne Gackenbach
Jayne Gackenbach received a PhD in experimental psychology from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1978. She then spent over a decade as assistant and then associate professor, mostly at the Department of Psychology, University of Northern Iowa. Currently, she works independently in Edmonton, Canada, and is a leading member of the Association for the Study of Dreams and the Lucidity Association.

Dr. Gackenbach has edited several books including Conscious Mind, Sleeping Brain: Perspectives on Lucid Dreaming (New York: Plenum Press, 1988) and the forthcoming Higher States of Consciousness (New York: Plenum Press), and has written the popular Control Your Dreams (New York: Harper-Collins, 1990). She is the author of several dozen articles in professional journals such as Journal of Social Psychology, Lucidity Letter, Journal of Mental Imagery, and Sleep Research.

She has distinguished herself in all aspects of lucidity research, including physiological, psychological, and transpersonal dimensions. This topic has also been of great interest to the Tibetan tradition.

Readings circulated for Mind and Life IV:

  • Gackenbach, J. 1991. “Frameworks for Understanding Lucid Dreaming: A Review,” in Dreaming 1: 109–28.
  • Gackenbach, J. 1991. “A Developmental Model of Consciousness in Sleep,” in Dream Images: A Call to Mental Arms, edited by J. Gackenbach and A. Sheikh (New York: Baywood Publishing Company, 1991).

Joan Halifax
Joan Halifax received a PhD in medical anthropology/psychology from University of Miami, 1968. Since then, she has held diverse positions, including researcher in Ethnomusicology, Columbia University, NIMH, and head of the Ojai Foundation, CA. Currently, she is president of the Upaya Foundation,in New Mexico, which includes a community facility for the dying.

Dr. Halifax is the author of several articles and books including The Human Encounter with Death (with S. Grof ) (Norton, 1973), Shamanism (Cross Roads, 1984), and Fruitful Darkness (Harper and Row, 1994).

She has carried out extensive cross-cultural studies of various topics and pioneered studies on death and dying. She is also a Buddhist practitioner and a lineage holder in the Tiep Order of Thich Nhat Hanh.

Thupten Jinpa
Thupten Jinpa received his monastic training at Zongkar Choede Monastery and at Gaden Monastic University in India, leading to his degree as Lharam Geshe in 1989, the Tibetan equivalent to a doctorate in divinity. Since 1986 he has been the principal translator to His Holiness The Dalai Lama on philosophy and religion. In 1989 Jinpa joined Kings College to study Western philosophy, and received his honors in 1992.

His published works include translations of the Dalai Lama’s texts on Buddhist thought and practice, and papers on topics such as Buddhist perspectives on the nature of philosophy, a comparative study of Nietzschean perspectivism and the philosophy of emptiness, and the role of subjectivity in Tibetan Vajray›na art. Jinpa brings his solid background in Tibetan and Western traditions and his extensive linguistic skills as the Dalai Lama’s translator. Along with Alan Wallace, he has been the translator for all previous Mind and Life meetings.

Joyce McDougall
Joyce McDougall received a D.Ed. from Otago University, New Zealand. Dr. McDougall was trained in psychoanalysis in London and Paris. Since 1954 she has lived and practiced in Paris, where she is now supervising and training analyst for the Paris Society and the Institute of Psychoanalysis.

Dr. McDougall is a frequent contributor to psychoanalytic books and journals in European languages and the author of several books, including Plea for a Measure of Abnormality (New York: I.U.P., 1980); Theaters of the Mind (New York: Basic Books, 1985); and Theaters of the Body: A Psychoanalytic Approach to Psychosomatic Illness (New York: W. W. Norton, 1989). All have been translated into many languages.

Psychoanalysis is the only Western tradition that uses a hands-on pragmatic approach to explore human experience. The role of dreams has been recognized as crucial since its very inception. Dr. McDougall is one of the most eloquent representatives of this tradition, with extensive clinical experience and an articulate theoretical understanding.

Reading circulated for Mind and Life IV:

  • McDougall, J. 1990. Theaters of the Mind (New York: Brunner Mazel).

Charles Taylor
Charles Taylor received a PhD in philosophy from Oxford in 1961. Since then he has served as assistant, associate, and full professor at McGill University, with various additional appointments, including at École Normale Superieur (Paris), Princeton University, Oxford University, and the University of California at Berkeley.

Dr. Taylor is the author of several well-known books, such as The Explanation of Behaviour (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1964); Hegel (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1975); and Sources of the Self (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1989).

He is also a frequent contributor to several philosophical journals. Dr. Taylor has been an eminent contributor to both continental and Anglo-American schools of modern thought. In this meeting, it was important to have a clear understanding of current Western ideas about self, mind, and society.

Reading circulated for Mind and Life IV:

  • Taylor, Charles. 1989. Sources of the Self: The Making of the Modern Identity (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1989).

Francisco J. Varela
Francisco Varela received a PhD in biology from Harvard University in 1970. Since then, he has taught and conducted research in various universities, including University of Colorado, Boulder; New York University; University of Chile; and Max Planck Institute for Brain Research (Germany). He is currently the director of research at the Centre Nationale de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris.

Dr. Varela is the author of over 150 articles on neuroscience and cognitive science in scientific periodicals such as Journal of Cell Biology, Journal of Theoretical Biology, Perception, Vision Research, Human Brain Mapping, Biological Cybernetics, Philosophy of Science, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (USA) and Nature. He is the author of ten books, the most recent being The Embodied Mind (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1991), which has been translated into eight languages.

He has been interested for a long time in the interface between Western science and Buddhism. He was the scientific coordinator of Mind and Life I in 1987, and a participant in Mind and Life III. Apart from contributing his general expertise in neuroscience, his role was largely as a moderator.

Reading circulated for Mind and Life IV:

  • Varela, F., E. Thompson, and E. Rosch. 1991. The Embodied Mind: Cognitive Science and Human Experience (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press).

B. Alan Wallace
Alan Wallace received a PhD in religious studies at Stanford University, and a B.A. from Amherst College in 1985 in physics and philosophy. From 1971 to 1979 he studied the Tibetan Buddhist tradition intensively in Dharamsala and Switzerland.

Dr. Wallace is the author of various articles on epistemology of science and religion; author of Choosing Reality: A Contemplative View of Physics and the Mind (Boston: Shambhala Publications, 1989). He is also the translator/commentator of several Tibetan texts, such as Transcendent Wisdom: A Commentary on the Ninth Chapter of Shantideva’s “Guide to the Bodhisattva Way of Life,” by His Holiness the Dalai Lama (Ithaca, NY: Snow Lion Publications, 1988).

He brought an unusually deep knowledge of the Tibetan tradition combined with a broad training in Western science and philosophy to this conference. He has been the translator and counselor for all Mind and Life conferences.

Reading circulated for Mind and Life IV:

  • Wallace, A. 1989. Choosing Reality: A Contemplative View of Physics and the Mind (Boston: Shambhala Publications, 1989).